In this day and age, we live in massive megacities the likes of which the world has never know. It is a cruel irony that although humans are more densely packed together than ever, there is an increasing sense of isolation in the general population. If you work in a cubicle, live in a condo and drive to and from work parking in an underground garage, it can lead to a pretty lonely existence.
Because most people have easy access to social media, Netflix, and other forms of digital entertainment, there is a temptation to sink into a lethargic existence that seldom strays from the day-to-day formula. Many writers have identified this lack of face-to-face interaction as a failing in our society, Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, is a great read that emphasizes the importance of community.
While the overall topic of isolation versus community is pretty lofty, here are a few activities that individuals can pursue this winter to foster real connections with other human beings.
Learn a Language
There are so many reasons to learn a language and literally zero drawbacks. With helpful websites like Meetup and Mobilize, you can connect with thousands of people who want to converse in French, Spanish, German, or whatever language you please in exchange for a bit of coaching in English. Not only does this help you get out and meet people, it helps you develop a real world tool that looks good on your résumé and can be useful when travelling!
Play an Instrument
If you never learned as a child, learning to play an instrument can seem daunting as an adult. The important thing to remember is that a little bit a day can go a long way – if you play the piano (or the ukulele, your choice), for a mere 15 minutes a day for a year, you’ll be pretty competent by the end of that year. If you find yourself looking for music lessons in Toronto or the GTA, consider one of Long & McQuade’s several locations or refer to reviews and customer experience write-ups on sites like Yelp. Once you get going there are lots of open mics and opens jams around the city that are extremely inclusive and supportive.
Become a Board Game Wizard
Board games certainly aren’t for everyone, but if you find yourself craving a fix of Settler’s of Catan, you can always head down to one of Toronto’s many board game bars or cafés to meet likeminded individuals. Snakes and Lattés is a very popular destination for group hangs and dates, with a huge selection of games and lots of knowledgeable staff to help you have a good time. Playing a board game is great way to bond with people, engage your intellect and just have a lot of fun!
Learn to Knit
While some people might think that knitting is a lame pastime for grandmas, those folks are sorely mistaken. Arts and crafts are extremely in vogue in the 21st century, and presenting your friends or partner with an awesome handmade scarf or hat creates a pretty special, personal moment. Knitting circles are common and a great way to socialize, but it’s also a skill you can hone at home while listening to music and relaxing with a cup of tea.